According to Premium Times 11/10/2017, Buhari approved N640 billion oil contracts from his sick bed in London.
According to the newspaper, Mr. Baru said president Buhari approved at least two separate oil contracts on July 10 and July 31 worth $1 billion and $780 million, respectively. Though to the best of the knowledge of this writer, the president has not officially responded to the Baru/Kachukwu saga, but if the Premium Times’ report is something to rely upon, then what is the legality of those contracts approved by the president in his sick bed?
By section 145 of the constitution (2011 as altered) whenever president transmits a written declaration to the National Assembly that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, the functions of his office shall be discharged by the Vice-President as Acting President. Put it in another way, though in such a situation he remains the president of Nigeria, the exercise of his powers shall be in abeyance. He cannot validly sign any document in law. All executive powers are transfered to the Acting President. In fact, Justice Abutu of Abuja Federal High Court In ONWUEKE v A. G, FEDERATION FHC /ABJ/ CS/10 /2010, held that:
“when the Vice President is exercising the powers of the President as an Acting-President, he is exercising that (sic) powers in his own right as acting president and not onbehalf of the president.”
It follows therefore from the foregoing that signing of those documents by president Buhari was ultravires and unconstitutional; therefore VOIDABLE.
O. G. Chukkol (LL.B in view) Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State.